Thursday, January 31, 2008

Freaky Friday

This morning, as I departing from Beacon Hill, I dropped the infamous words to two boys that I adore in homage to Freaky Friday: Make Good Choices. Yes, I said it mainly because one boy, whom I particularly adore, made some bad choices last evening that endured some minor consequences. As I left this morning, one of the boys retorted: “Marisa, you never make bad choices.” Therefore, I intend on dedicating this blog to all the poor choices I have made.

Leggings or tights? This quandary will always haunt me in the winter months because I inexplicably chose the wrong accoutrement*. Cold feet? Tights? Tights with leggings? …or the alternative, which I shamefully have turned to in recent lights; shoving socks into my flats causing me to like Scarlet Johanson’s interview outfit in The Nanny Diaries (yikes).

Moving to Boston? Just kidding.

Following Atkins sophomore year of college. Needless to say that obviously didn’t work. Although that liquid breakfast and lunch diet did the summer before...hmm…

Not living in Paris (yet).

Not caring more about my hair, although I am working on this.

Not getting more into Project Runway.

Celebrity gossip blogs. Although, to this day, I have never once bought People Magazine or Us Weekly.

Casually following Britney’s life disasters.

Two buck chuck.

Houstons.

Refusing to watch most sporting events, essentially cutting ties with the outside world.

Lipton’s onion dip.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Rat Race

I’d like to change gears a bit and reflect on the blessed phase of my life last year that is entitled Recent Competent College Grad meets Entry Level Job. Some background: I graduated in May of 2006, lived at home in Summit, NJ, did two internships for the summer, then went on board as a Floater at Sotheby’s auction house on the Upper East Side. Now I interned at Sotheby’s in 2005 so I was very familiar with the bridge/tunnel commute. However, once the words “real life” or “job” (rather than “summer internship”), settled in my head, the commute took on terrors of its own. Here is how my morning routine worked. Please bear in mind that my dear friend, CEB, was also floating at Sotheby’s and happened to live one block away from me, ie. we achieved the dream. The follow excerpt, for humor sake, will entail life sans CEB's company on the dredged commute, ie. the era when that salup ditched me for Manhattan (just kidding).

Oh the rat race!

The alarm, aka my mother, went off at 6:20 AM and I was immediately greeted with strong black coffee that could fuel a jet. After completing the ordinary morning tasks, I would hurry my chauffeur (mom, thanks again, or brother) around 7:00AM to reach the 7:18AM train (yes you read that correctly ) and subsequently relive the anxiety that was comparable to being late in Middle School during the morning commute. Upon reaching the station (of course I am always prompt, anxiety runs strong in Catholics and Jews, and even stronger when you’re a mutt like me), I avoid eye contact with anyone I may know (no offense, but it's so early in the morning and do we really want to do that do-we-sit-with-each-other- dance-while-I-awkwardly-listen-to-my-ipod?). Once safely on the platform, I encounter a whole new other anxiety; the pigeons that huddle and nest in the trellises above our innocent heads. The droppings on the cement platform say enough, they’re dangerous and the puffy, dirty flying rodents are ready to drop. Hood in tact, I am resilient and stand diligently, gently rubbing up my elbows against fellow commuters. The whistle blows from the approaching vehicle and we get ready. The platform is packed and the primary goal in this race is to narrow down to a train door, jump in and snag a seat. This is why positioning on the platform is really key, pigeon poop and all. One, two, three, GO. It’s a race for the doors, push in, lucky if you’re a girl…sometimes chivalry still exists. Everyone scrambles. The unfortunate stand.

Once arriving, we all line up like cattle, being herded to our destined locations. Some days, I take the E, which will lead me to the East Side, hop on 6 and then take the Cross Town bus. The E is notorious for being dirty (watch out for those weird icicles of goop that drip from the ceiling!), over crowded and pushy, like most of Manhattan. It just shows you how civilized the 6 is (sort of). The 6 boasts digital banners that allocate the next station stop and final destination. It is also much cleaner, but still will supply any innocent rider with the legal sexual harassment that occurs every morning in front of our eyes. What? Sexual harassment? That's right. Any rider, male or female, young or old, will experience the boob graze, bum grab and crotch rub due to the over-crowded cars. Even the more civilized bus will supply you with the thrill of a stranger breathing down your neck, coughing on you and still "accidentally" grinding up against you like two soused sophomores at a T& E in the 1942 room gyrating to Sean Paul. I digress. After two subway rides, an Xtown bus and a few more blocks, you're essentially a hop, skip and jump from Penn Station (approximately 1 hour later) to your destination; Sotheby's.

[Insert 8 hours of work]

Now the time is 5:30 and it's imperative that you make a mad dash to catch the express train. Personally, I like to spice it up on the way home. I’ll either run the four long blocks to the Lexington route, or if I really want to cruise in style and finish up that New Yorker article (why are they so long?), I’ll opt for the Xtown bus. Down the 6 we go until 33rd Street, run like the wind, past the Artisinal (yum), past the homeless woman in front of the Church (sorry, no spare change today, too bad I'm not salaried) and race, race, race. Finally I reach 8th Avenue, which always makes me giggle. It’s really the NY/ Long Islander commuters against the NY stapled Taxi Cabs. We wait at the light, pushing slowly into the street, some brave souls just run. In the end, the commuters win, ultimately stopping traffic and make it to the welcoming abyss of Penn station. We swarm and wait for the listing of the Express Train like soy sauce on sashimi. The track number appears, the announcement is made and we run like Flo Jo, the final push and elbow rub, down the stairs, scramble to a seat. There, we made it. Unless our train is late, held up a few yards from the destination track or the electricity is out on NJ transit; anything goes.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Culture Francais

This past weekend, I watched the first-half of Paris, Je t'Aime (twice). The film is composed of 5 minute vignettes starring both French and well-known American actors. I know what you're thinking and yes, like all French movies, Gerard Depardieu starred in this one as well. The vignettes represented France to a fault: sweet, ironic, sexy and tragic. Although entertaining, there were some stories that I simply did not understand. Par exemple, Henry/ An nai. You couldn't pay me to understand. Was it supposed to represent a French hair ad? Also, I found the French mime skit rather frightening and annoying, although the little boy running away with the over sized duffel was cute. I look forward to completing my viewing at a later date.

Boston Repairs

Dear Town of Boston:

Please see the below additions :

  • frozen yogurt (really, just any kind, I don't care, but frozen yogurt weather is quickly approaching--hurry!)
  • a night life ( ok, enough with Clery's and the rape room basement, granted dancing is fun, but I don't need to go to your bar at 8:30 PM to avoid a line- this isn't Marquee, it's Boston, remember?)
  • any engineered apparatus that would help lower the wind tunnel effect that happens on every block ( this isn't Chicago)
  • a supermarket (I can't always afford a $2 apple from Guatemala)

more to come, please feel to submit suggestions and comments

Alas, I have identified a stellar frozen yogurt at Cafe Podima on Cambridge Street (across from trusty Whole Foods). Cafe Podima scoops out individual yogurts (sugar free is an option) with a plethora of toppings, that I wish to explore further. To boot, their portions are in competition with a Ben & Jerry's pint.

French Bistro

The past two Monday's I had the fortunate gift of participating in BCAE's French Bistro Cooking Class, hosted by Chef Joyce della Chiesa. The class was absolutely fantastic. Chef Chiesa's warmth and instruction were so lovely and absolutely inviting. The class is centered around a huge island that could fit a cruise ship with endless counter space, two cook tops, several stoves and even a slanted mirror on the ceiling to demonstrate chopping techniques for further instruction. The great thing about the class is that you could really take it for what you wanted. Whether it be a spicy cocktail party (wine and pate were provided) or a first notch glance at culinary arts, the class was lax and inviting. I chose the latter route and tried to get as much hands-on experience as I could obtain. I learned how to hold the knife, slice a baguette (much harder than it looks), dice garlic, julienne carrots and roll out pastry dough. Some recipes included coq au vin, bacon and caramelized onion tarte, apple turnovers, potato and leek gratin (made it this weekend, absolutely delicious, even served cold), frisee salad with green lentils, Roquefort and mushroom galette (free-forming pastries, emphasis on free-formed) and crepes. I cannot wait to host my own French Bistro dinner, blasting Edith Piaf (note to self: rent La Vie on Rose), and drink copious amounts of Bordeaux. Now the puzzle is where does one find French-worthy baguettes?